Sunday Sermon ... or ... We all need a little more Green in our lives
posted by The Sailor @ 9:15 PM PermalinkCookie Jill at skippy's place always has excellent coverage of the loss of the green, green grass of home, (not to mention trees, insects, fish and animals), and it's a reminder of what we need to do for all of us.
This would be comical if it weren't for the fact that we lost many lives and destroyed so very many others when we recklessly invaded Iraq for its oil, tore apart the Middle East, asking "allies, such as Kuwait, to aid that effort by providing fuel for our misbegotten and horrible war.
Consumers at the gas pump aren't the only ones suffering sticker shock. Military units in Iraq and elsewhere will see another hike in fuel costs next week, the second increase this budget year because of soaring oil prices.
On July 1, the cost for refined fuel used by troops will jump from $127.68 a barrel to $170.94 _ an astounding 34 percent increase in just six months and more than double what the Pentagon was paying three years ago.
While prices charged to warfighting units have fluctuated in recent years, they have not faced such a steep spike in so few months. The cost of jet fuel, for example, jumped from $2.31 a gallon in October, the start of the 2008 budget year, to $3.04 in December. As of next month, units will start paying $4.07 a gallon.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Brian Maka said Friday that the latest price hike is needed to cover an anticipated $1.2 billion rise in fuel costs in the next three months. While a $400 million a month increase in fuel costs won't affect ongoing military operations, it will require a "reprioritization of daily support activities," he said in an e-mailed statement.[…]
Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said the price increase makes the case that Iraq should start paying some of the military's fuel costs because of its hefty oil reserves.
Collins, R-Maine, and Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Evan Bayh of Indiana have proposed legislation that would require President Bush to negotiate with Baghdad on fuel subsidies for troops fighting in Iraq. The measure is included in a 2009 defense policy bill the Senate is expected to debate next month.
"The Iraqis continue to subsidize the fuel for their own citizens, but our troops, which are fighting side by side them, continue to pay top dollar," she said in a telephone interview on Friday.
Just think about this for a second and how hideously repugnant it is that while "liberating Iraq" so we can steal their oil we are paying ridiculously high prices for the fuel we're using. F'ing ingrates or people who just can't stand being invaded? You call it.
Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said the price increase makes the case that Iraq should start paying some of the military's fuel costs because of its hefty oil reserves.
Geez, ya think?
And doesn't that leave open the question, "What if we had a war and everybody ran out of gas?"
The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week. The document [...] was the E.P.A.’s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment, the officials said. [...] Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years.
Yet another example of Bushco ignoring the reality of the economic and health benefits for Americans to top up the coffers of his Oily friends.
Ching, ching, don't let those cash registers ring when it comes to America's secret kings…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:38 PM Permalink
…referring, of course to Exxon-Mobil having the damages they were ordered to pay cut in half by one federal court, and then further reduced by our Supreme Court to one tenth of the original fine for having spilled enough oil to cause one of the worst environmental disaster in my lifetime.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday slashed the $2.5 billion punitive damages award in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to $500 million.
The court ruled that victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. history may collect punitive damages from Exxon Mobil Corp., but not as much as a federal appeals court determined.
Justice David Souter wrote for the court that punitive damages may not exceed what the company already paid to compensate victims for economic losses, about $500 million compensation.
Souter said a penalty should be ''reasonably predictable'' in its severity
The only thing that seems predictable here is that the courts, even the Supreme Court, are going to decide for big business and against the little people when it comes to the pocketbooks of Big Oil.
Exxon has fought vigorously to reduce or erase the punitive damages verdict by a jury in Alaska four years ago for the accident that dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. The environmental disaster led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals.[…]
The problem for the people, businesses and governments who waged the lengthy legal fight against Exxon is that the Supreme Court in recent years has become more receptive to limiting punitive damages awards. The Exxon Valdez case differs from the others in that it involves issues peculiar to laws governing accidents on the water.
Overall, Exxon has paid $3.4 billion in fines, penalties, cleanup costs, claims and other expenses resulting from the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The commercial fishermen, Native Alaskans, landowners, businesses and local governments involved in the lawsuit have each received about $15,000 so far ''for having their lives and livelihood destroyed and haven't received a dime of emotional-distress damages,'' their Supreme Court lawyer, Jeffrey Fisher, said when the court heard arguments in February.
This truly strikes me as an injustice foisted off upon us by a court dedicating itself to limiting or eliminating penalties in civil cases in accordance with the "Republican Way."
(skippy has a great roundup of blogtopia's remembrances.)
Here's mine: Some years ago I worked with George one night when my sound company provided the PA and I got to be the engineer. (It helps when you own the company;-)
Like a lot of comedians, George was very serious about his comedy. Sound check was longer than I've spent with some 10 piece bands. I didn't mind, we both wanted the show to be perfect.
George worked every corner of the stage, with his voice rising to a shout and falling to a whisper, and it took time to make sure there was no ringing feedback or distorted lines. He wasn't rehearsing, I don't recall him doing any routines during sound check, he was just making sure his voice could be heard from the orchestra pit to the cheap seats regardless of timbre or emphasis.
He was one of the most intense and professional artists I've ever worked with. And that's understandable. One person with a mic trying to make people laugh is the hardest gig in show business. Even a solo musician has their instrument to keep them company while they face the audience.
Now fix that in your mind so you can envision what I saw when I checked with him backstage just before he was going to perform. The 'opening act' was the finalists from a local battle of the comics. They'd just done their bits and came backstage.
We are literally standing in the wings, less than a minute to showtime, and while I put a fresh battery into Mr. Carlin's mic I hear him giving advice to these amateurs about how to succeed in comedy.
At the very moment when most artists are pacing back and forth in the most insecure moment of their professional lives, George is taking time to encourage these kids.
It takes huge heart and a gracious soul to do that.
posted by The Vidiot @ 9:32 AM Permalink
My cousin Barbie just died. Well, she was a second or third cousin, I'm not sure, we Italians tend to have a lot of cousins. Anyway, she was kinda' old, she had fallen and I guess her heart gave out. I wasn't close to her but she did coach me through making my first successful from-scratch cake and taught me and mom how to test for the mal'ochio using oil and water.
But here's my point: I'd been meaning to call her for that last two weeks, but didn't get around to it because she took A LOT of energy to talk with. She was very current on all the news and politics and LOVED to rap about it. Between that and all of her grandchildren, you weren't getting off that phone for a long while. So, I didn't call, I put it off.
So, my advice to you is if you have an elderly relative that would enjoy hearing from you (Mr. Vidiot, CALL YOUR GRANDMA THIS INSTANT) call them now. It's important. Way more important then arguing the existence or nonexistence of any difference between the two ruling juntas we call political parties in this country.
posted by The Vidiot @ 8:00 AM Permalink
So, for some odd reason, we ended up watching 60 Minutes last night. First, was the Al-Hurra story (which is the US administration's answer to Al-Jazeera.) Wow. You have to watch it to believe it, but my favorite part was when the interviewer asked the former head of CNN, and now former head of Al-Hurra this question (and I paraphrase) "So how do you maintain journalistic credibility?" without a hint of irony.
Then, we watched the second segment with Anderson Cooper about starving kids in Niger. Seems they've come up with some sort of cheap food thing made of peanut butter, dried milk and vitamins that malnourished kids can eat to make them nourished, I think it was called something like Plumpy Butter or something. Any way, we're watching this thing, and it's one of those, "See? Capitalism works for the Africans! We've found a solution to the problem of the poor starving children! See? The system works!" -type stories. And they interviewed one of the doctors and she seemed like a very sincere and caring physician who just wants to help these kids and she gets her one chance to speak to the world and when Cooper asks her something where the answer SHOULD'VE been a harsh criticism of the US and US policies in Africa that caused the starving in the first place, she just says something completely unmemorable.
So we couldn't take that anymore so we switched over to Bill Moyers where he was talking about race and neither one of the guys he was interviewing said a damn thing. Really. One guy talked A LOT and didn't say anything. We kept waiting for him to make a point and he never did.
After all of that, we just felt so dirty and propagandized and Mr. Vidiot (who didn't even own a TV before me) asked "Have they always been like that? Mouthpieces for the system?" and I had to answer that I assumed yes, but that I wasn't much aware of it before December 12, 2000.
To cleanse our brains, we watched some animated movie on Ovation called "Dante's Inferno" which was pretty cool.
After more than a year of partisan acrimony over government surveillance powers, Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed to a bipartisan deal that would be the most sweeping rewrite of spy powers in three decades. The House is likely to vote on the measure Friday, House aides said.
Democratic and GOP leaders in the House announced agreement Wednesday on a long-overdue war funding bill they said President Bush would be willing to sign.
Sure, I can hear you naysayers out there, “But what about the Supreme Court?” or, “What about Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare?” or even, “What about Abortion!” and to you I say, “Bwaht!” Those issues are rhetoric. The only difference between the parties is rhetoric.
Politicians pretend to occupy our universe of political discourse. However, their beliefs, ideas and support exist within a different universe, one that has the same context, that of the power elite. Issues such as abortion, etc, do not concern them. With these manufactured squabbles, they win votes. But by supporting the elite, they maintain power.
Further, rights or issues like abortion and healthcare aren’t rights that governments grant, or at least they shouldn’t be. (We’ve allowed that to happen.) Think about it: people have rights not because of the government but because they are endowed with these inalienable rights (Sound familiar?). People have the right to healthcare and to make decisions about their body, but not because the government gives them these rights. So the difference between the two parties amount to mere rhetoric, so don’t be fooled by the rhetoric. To use the words of Wittgenstein, they are “language games.” (Corrected. All this time, I thought it was Lichtenstien that Mr. Vidiot was saying. Hmmm. Interesting.)
COUNTERPOINT by The Sailor: No difference!? WTF!? Sure, I agree that folks in both parties that attain the higher offices have been corrupted by money and ambition, but if Gore had won we wouldn't have the Iraq war. If Gore had won we wouldn't have Alito and Roberts on the supreme court. If Gore had won Katrina would have been treated as a national disaster instead of Karl Rove's political football.
There is a difference; Dems suck less! (Not a ringing endorsement I'll grant you), but McCain will be appointing the 5th justice that will overturn Roe v. Wade, he'll further Bush's trashing of the Constitution, the environment, spying on Americans, etc, etc, etc.
Taxes, wars, torture, healthcare, womens' right to choose, are not rhetoric, they are the fundamental differences between McCain and Obama.
COUNTERCOUNTERPOINT by Mr. Vidiot: Rights have never won by the voting process. Rights have never won by what candidate is in office or not. Not a single amendment, not a single law and not a single politician has ever secured rights for any American. Political rights have been won through resistance, blood, fighting, and subversion. Rights have been won and secured after years of turmoil and conflict, taking to the streets, and getting one's hands dirty. Democrats and republicans have both delivered unfulfilled promises and unfulfilled dreams and covered up their ambitions with rhetoric.
May I refer to you a time you might remember: the 1960s. It didn't happen spontaneously. There's an historical teleology that led to that moment. The women's movement - the textile mills strikes that occurred throughout the USA where thousands of women protest and resisted power, only to lose their jobs. Where the African slave resisted through both subtle and more over means, from crop sabotage to killing. History unfolds, politicians do not make decisions as if they are in a vacuum. These decisions meet their reality in streets of rebellion and resistance and subversion, not in oval offices and among the political elite. The 19th Amendment didn't give women the right to vote. It took years of struggle, of fighting oppression and marginalization and resistance to power. It took violent resistance. These rights weren't simply handed to them by an amendment. Next time you vote democrat, think, "what rights have they ever secured for you." Shall we not forget history? Shall we forget all those who fought in vain and died or remember how they chipped away, piece by piece, and that was and eventually made the wall fall?
As for war: we must again refer to the logic of our political and economic institutions - the driving forces of modernity. Capitalism MUST expand and as Marx said, it will break down all Chinese walls. Capitalism is insatiable. It MUST produce profit or dissolve. It seeks to expand through invitation preferably, through destruction if necessary. If politicians are to secure their institutional roles, they must allow capitalism to expand, through peace or war. Republicans and democrats must serve this logic and they do, knowingly or unknowingly. Gore is not a hero. Gore, rather, is an apologist for a system he loyally and faithfully serves. Case in point: his famous documentary which gives a rather unenlightened critique of the environmental degradation yet places blame on individuals, the rhetoric of self responsibility, diverting attention away from what is really to blame -- an economic system geared towards one logic: profit.
One last note: it's not corruption and personal ambition that inform the action of politicians. Rather, it is the logic of the political and economic institutions. To understand action, purposive action, one must understand the cultural context and structural conditions in which action takes place. Please think about the logic of our political and economic institutions to better understand the actions of American politicians.
COUNTERCOUNTERPOINT ADDENDUM by The Vidiot: I know, it's a tough pill to swallow. It took me a long time before I could see his point. Abortion, the war, poverty, all of it is so important to us, that we can't believe that it's NOT important to them (Democrats and Republicans.) And maybe a part of their humanity does care, but they can't act outside of their institution, otherwise they wouldn't be a member of that institution any longer.I still have a hard time with it because it's easier to think "Dem v Rep" then to deconstruct the whole thing and try to look behind the wall all the time.
What did it for me is this: We are all born with rights, the rights of a human being. But, the State tells us what rights we don't have. Political rights are won through blood, sweat and tears. If the State didn't grant those after all of that, then they'd have a real rebellion on their hands.
CounterCounterCounterPoint by The Sailor: Roe v. Wade, Loving v. Virginia, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the right to privacy, Habeas Corpus, gay marriage are just a few of the examples off the top of my head that were instituted without bloodshed, (tho I'll acknowledge the implementation in some cases involved bloodshed.) Those are all 'political rights' that were either judicially or legislatively expanded. And the only 'rebellion' has been by folks who are intent to undermine those rights.
Any social/political system one lives in imposes boundaries. If there are no boundaries then it's just Strong v. Weak. We're not quite there yet. And dems are slightly better at protecting the least amongst us than repubs.
COUNTERCOUNTEROH WHATEVERPOINT by Mr. and Mrs. Vidiot: There’s history behind all those acts. None of them happened in a vacuum. There was a lot of struggle that happened behind all those acts. That struggle wasn’t led by republicans or democrats but by whites, blacks, women, students; PEOPLE fought for those things, they secured those ‘rights’ for themselves. Governments merely acquiesced to the people’s demands.
Government by its definition, subjugates people. To be a citizen is to be dominated by a nation state. Nation states define and decide what rights there are and by doing that limit our rights. We have rights as humans, unfettered from any dominant powerful monstrosity that rules above us. When the nations states hijacks land, people, and their institutions, they impose their will over land, people and institutions. And when people fight and secure some of the most basic of freedoms, that’s government granting rights? Not really. People fight and struggle for the most basic of dignities. Governments, after a long process of struggle, give an inch, and we act like democracy occurred.
Believing in the dems, who run this machine with repubs, is to lie to yourself and give you some sense of security in an increasingly insecure and troubled world. The reality for humanity, for any revolutionary or for that matter, any so-called progressive is to not accept the bone, but to take back our lives. And the power elite's (dems and repubs) response is to insure that we will never have that freedom and life. They are hired to make capitalism work. We should live to fulfill our human potentials. And to that end, both dems and repubs must fall.
To put it into perspective, here's what we perceive: They all seem rather large to us. But, here's what the power elite perceive: See? All those little spheres of perception, those are all of OUR spheres of perception, and see how small they are when compared to the big gray ball of global capitalism? They're actually smaller than that, and each little orange orb is each little system, the people of the US, India, China, the whole world, and what they perceive as important. But in relation to the overall system, see how comparitively insignificant they are? THAT'S why dems and repubs are the same. They play with the gray ball and the orange balls? Well, they're little more than specks of sand beneath their feet.
While we're squabbling over things we should control ourselves, we're asking governments to throw us bones. Meanwhile, the world system of nation states and global capital is terrorizing our Earth in the guise of political and economic legitimacy.
Nation states are evil doers, and we are the hostages. Our choices are illusions.
Addendum by The Sailor: Words frequently fail me. So I'll just fall back on poetry/lyrics:
You say you want a revolution Well, you know We all want to change the world [...] But when you talk about destruction Don't you know that you can count me out
I agree with your basic tenets, but at my age I'm just to old to "man the barricades". ... and given that I have two options; I can sail away or I can vote.
I'm leaning towards voting, but Plan B remains an option.
The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing “war crimes” and called for those responsible to be held to account. [...] “After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Taguba wrote. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” [...] Doctors and mental health experts examined 11 detainees held for long periods in the prison system that President Bush established after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. All of them eventually were released without charges.
The doctors and experts determined that the men had been subject to cruelties that ranged from isolation, sleep deprivation and hooding to electric shocks, beating and, in one case, being forced to drink urine. [...] The Defense Department responds to concerns raised by the International Committee for the Red Cross, he said, which has access to detainees under military control.
"the International Committee for the Red Cross ... which has access to detainees under military control" Well that's just a bald faced lie:
The U.S. military hid the locations of suspected terrorist detainees and concealed harsh treatment to avoid the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to documents that a Senate committee released Tuesday.
“We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques,” Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who’s since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture. Her comments were recorded in minutes of the meeting that were made public Tuesday. At that same meeting, Beaver also appeared to confirm that U.S. officials at another detention facility - Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan - were using sleep deprivation to “break” detainees well before then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved that technique. “True, but officially it is not happening,” she is quoted as having said.
A third person at the meeting, Jonathan Fredman, the chief counsel for the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, disclosed that detainees were moved routinely to avoid the scrutiny of the ICRC, which keeps tabs on prisoners in conflicts around the world.
“In the past when the ICRC has made a big deal about certain detainees, the DOD (Defense Department) has ‘moved’ them away from the attention of the ICRC,” Fredman said, according to the minutes. [...] Fredman of the CIA also appeared to be advocating the use of techniques harsher than those authorized by military field guides “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong,” the minutes report Fredman saying at one point.
There you have it in (literally) a nutshell. But wait! There's more!
NADLER: Colonel Wilkerson, in your prepared testimony, you write that “as I compiled my dossier for Secretary Powell, and as I did further research, and as my views grew firmer and firmer I had to reread that memo (of February 7, 2002), “I needed to balance in my own mind the overwhelming evidence that my own government had sanctioned abuse and torture, which at its worse had led to the murder of 25 detainees and at least 100 detainee deaths. We have murder at least 25 people in detention. That was the clear low point [lower end of the range] of the evidence.” Your testimony said 100 detainees have died in detention; do you believe the 25 of those were in effect murdered?
WILKERSON: Mr. Chairman, I think the number’s actually higher than that now. Last time I checked it was 108, and the total number that were declared homicides by the military services, or by the CIA, or others doing investigations, CID, and so forth — was 25, 26, 27.
NADLER: Were declared homicides?
WILKERSON: Right, starting as early as December 2001 in Afghanistan.
NADLER: And these were homicides committed by people engaged in interrogations?
WILKERSON: Or in guarding prisoners, or something like that. People who were in detention.
NADLER: They were in detention, not trying to escape or anything, declared homicides by our own authorities.
And just what lies about President-to-be Obama will Brooks spread today while in disguise…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 9:01 AM Permalink
…as an opinion writer whose opinions are utter equine excrement?
I will never link to him, but today he writes opines that Obama is two different politicians, one seemingly good (the most intelligent politician of our time) and the other "Fast Eddie Obama" as he refers to Mr. Obama while repeating the scurrilous, specious lie about the "oath" Mr. Obama never made regarding using only public financing of his presidential campaign:
…He’s the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.[…]
…Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.
The only question that remains is why Brooks doesn't investigate outright lies before he exposes what an idiot he is in print?
Maybe there are two Brooks: the stupid one that repeats baseless lies as purported facts and the equally stupid opinion writer who doesn't realize his own irrelevance, ya think?
BTW: What's wrong about a politician raising his campaign money from his constituents instead of draining the Treasury of another $85 million the country can ill-afford? But, of course, taxpayers NEVER figure in the calculations of republicans. They could care less about how badly they are f**king up and bankrupting this country.
I think this shows a certain nobility on the part of future President Obama while republicans prove day-after-day-after-day that there is NOTHING noble about the GOP.
The US military cannot locate hundreds of sensitive nuclear missile components, according to several government officials familiar with a Pentagon report on nuclear safeguards.
Robert Gates, US defence secretary, recently fired both the US Air Force chief of staff and air force secretary after an investigation blamed the air force for the inadvertent shipment of nuclear missile nose cones to Taiwan.
According to previously undisclosed details obtained by the FT, the investigation also concluded that the air force could not account for many sensitive components previously included in its nuclear inventory.
One official said the number of missing components was more than 1,000.[…]
A senior defence official said the report had “identified issues about record keeping” for sensitive nuclear missile components. But he stressed that there was no suggestion that components had ended up in the hands of countries that should not have received them.
But Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, said the revelation was “very significant and extremely troubling” because it meant the US could not establish the positive control referred to by Mr Gates.
“It raises a serious question about where else these unaccounted for warhead related parts may have gone,” said Mr Kimball. “I would not be surprised if the recent Taiwan incident is not the only one.”
A senior military officer said the military leadership, including Adm Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, was “deeply troubled” by the findings of the Donald report. He added that they would be paying close attention to recommendations for improving nuclear safeguards that Mr Gates has asked James Schlesinger, a former defence secretary, to make.
Our government purports to be positive that Iran has a secret program to produce nuclear weapons.
I can now report with a great degree of confidence that Iran is doing so just by locating all the nuclear parts the bush maladministration has proven incapable of safeguarding.
Critics of President Lee Myung-bak vowed Thursday to continue their protests despite his repeated apologies for a U.S. beef import deal that has paralyzed his four-month-old government.
Reeling from the biggest anti-government demonstrations since the end of military dictatorship in the late 1980s, Mr. Lee promised to fire some of his aides and reshuffle his cabinet.
But the damage inflicted by the beef protests and aggravated by soaring oil prices has curtailed his plan to stimulate the economy with pro-business legislation.[…]
Mr. Lee angered South Koreans by agreeing in April to lift an import ban on U.S. beef that was imposed in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States. The beef protests quickly grew into broader demonstrations against Mr. Lee’s leadership style.[…]
“I have painfully learned that no policy can succeed without public support,” Mr. Lee said.
“For the rest of my term, I will keep reminding myself of the lesson I have learned from this case.”
It was a humbling moment for Mr. Lee, who won a landslide victory last December on promises that he could help revive the country’s economy and rebuild an alliance with Washington.
“The people’s resistance will continue as long as the government uses lies and excuses to avoid renegotiating the beef deal,” organizers of the anti-Lee demonstrations said in a statement. They demanded a “complete renegotiation” of the beef deal — a posture shared on Thursday by the main opposition United Democratic Party.
Protesters want the accord to be renegotiated to allow South Korea to approve U.S. meat companies exporting to South Korea. They also demand the right to unilaterally stop importing U.S. beef if mad cow disease is found again in the United States.
If we are what we eat it's obvious that too many politicians, on both sides of the Big Pond, have been eating way too much beef.
Was ever a time riper to have to pay the piper? And why do we tolerate these vipers?……
posted by Bill Arnett @ 9:53 AM Permalink
…from When the Levees Break by Led Zeppelin:
If it keeps on raining levee's going to break If it keeps on raining levee's going to break When the levee breaks have no place to stay
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan Got what it takes to make a Mountain Man leave his home
Oh, well; oh, well; oh, well.
Don't it make you feel bad? When you're trying to find your way home you don't know which way to go? When you're going down south and there's no work to do And you're going on to Chicago
Crying won't help you, praying won't do you no good Crying won't help you, praying won't do you no good When the levee breaks, mama, you got to go
All last night sat on the levee and moaned All last night sat on the levee and moaned Thinking about my baby and my happy home
If ever there was a time in America when the country's infrastructure, as a whole, has been so long neglected, ignored while the rain pours, and the levees really ARE starting to break, all because of a political party and its leader embroiling America in a fruitless, useless war that is acting as a black hole, sucking the life out of our beloved country and making this the time, now, to pay the piper, this is that time.
I know that bush alone is not to blame for the lack of infrastructure repair, but were it not for his bankrupting the country trying to steal the Iraqi oil we could have legitimately purchased for far less treasure and many fewer lives then perhaps our next president, Barack Obama, could begin the awesome, almost insurmountable task, of rebuilding the levees, the bridges, the highways and byways of America, and actually make real progress towards breaking the country's addiction to oil that has prevented all these things from already having been done. In the meantime our country continues to keep
Going down - going down, now Going down - going down, now Going down Going down Going down Going down
Going down - going down, now Going down - going down, now Going down - going down, now Going down Going dow-, dow-, dow-, dow-, down, now
I weep for my country and rail against a political party composed of evil men using evil constructs of their evil and greedy little minds to enrich themselves while our country is dying.
Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of death's construction In the fields the bodies burning As the war machine keeps turning Death and hatred to mankind Poisoning their brainwashed minds Oh lord yeah!
Politicians hide themselves away They only started the war Why should they go out to fight? They leave that role to the poor
Time will tell on their power minds Making war just for fun Treating people just like pawns in chess Wait 'til their judgement day comes Yeah!
Now in darkness world stops turning Ashes where the bodies burning No more war pigs have the power Hand of God has struck the hour Day of judgement, God is calling On their knees the war pig's crawling Begging mercy for their sins Satan laughing spreads his wings Oh lord yeah!
It's not bad apples, it's the fruit of the poison tree
posted by The Sailor @ 8:53 PM Permalink
McClatchy Newspapers has been spending 8 months doing what reporters are supposed to do. Instead of acting as stenographers for the government they've actually been investigating the claims the government has made.
This week, starting on Sunday, they are publishing the results: * Sunday: We got the wrong guys * Monday: 'I guess you can call it torture' * Tuesday: A school for Jihad * Today: 'Due process is legal mumbo-jumbo' * Thursday: 'You are the king of this prison' Here are some excerpts so far. Sunday:
Akhtiar was among the more than 770 terrorism suspects imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They are the men the Bush administration described as "the worst of the worst."
But Akhtiar was no terrorist. American troops had dragged him out of his Afghanistan home in 2003 and held him in Guantanamo for three years in the belief that he was an insurgent involved in rocket attacks on U.S. forces. The Islamic radicals in Guantanamo's Camp Four who hissed "infidel" and spat at Akhtiar, however, knew something his captors didn't: The U.S. government had the wrong guy.
"He was not an enemy of the government, he was a friend of the government," a senior Afghan intelligence officer told McClatchy. Akhtiar was imprisoned at Guantanamo on the basis of false information that local anti-government insurgents fed to U.S. troops, he said.
Former guards and detainees whom McClatchy interviewed said Bagram was a center of systematic brutality for at least 20 months, starting in late 2001. Yet the soldiers responsible have escaped serious punishment.
The public outcry in the United States and abroad has focused on detainee abuse at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but sadistic violence first appeared at Bagram, north of Kabul, and at a similar U.S. internment camp at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.
Mohammed Naim Farouq was a thug in the lawless Zormat district of eastern Afghanistan. He ran a kidnapping and extortion racket, and he controlled his turf with a band of gunmen who rode around in trucks with AK-47 rifles.
U.S. troops detained him in 2002, although he had no clear ties to the Taliban or al Qaida. By the time Farouq was released from Guantanamo the next year, however — after more than 12 months of what he described as abuse and humiliation at the hands of American soldiers — he'd made connections to high-level militants.
In fact, he'd become a Taliban leader. When the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency released a stack of 20 "most wanted" playing cards in 2006 identifying militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan — with Osama bin Laden at the top — Farouq was 16 cards into the deck.
The framework under which detainees were imprisoned for years without charges at Guantanamo and in many cases abused in Afghanistan wasn't the product of American military policy or the fault of a few rogue soldiers.
It was largely the work of five White House, Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers who, following the orders of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, reinterpreted or tossed out the U.S. and international laws that govern the treatment of prisoners in wartime, according to former U.S. defense and Bush administration officials.
While anyone paying attention already knew most of this, big kudos to the McClatchy reporters for following up and gathering airtight evidence.
Reporters from the Washington Post exposed Watergate and thru their reporting sparked a congress to act in a bi-partisan manner to impeach the 2nd most power hungry, corrupt president in history.
Reporters from McClatchy, and congressional testimony, have exposed the most power hungry and corrupt president in history.
But this time congress' answer has been to either support these immoral and unconstitutional acts or to say 'impeachment is off the table.'
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:18 AM Permalink
…it has been noted in the press the last few days that citizens of San Diego, paying an average of $4.61 per gallon for gas, have been crossing the border to Mexico where they pay an average of $2.54 per gallon for perfectly good gasoline that runs their vehicles as well as any American gas.
Why do we allow the thievery of the oil companies and our government to continue to artificially jack up prices higher and higher so bush and McPain can play the con game of, "We must drill off the coast of our beaches while not telling you that it will take ten years to bring a facility on-line and producing oil and that there have been more than eighty oil spills since drilling in the Gulf of Mexico increased. You must be afraid, very afraid, or the terrists will shut off our gas supply just as soon as they have built an international oil business, bought hugh numbers of tankers, hired crews that can bring the oil out of the ground, transport it for sale worldwide, and set up, train, and put into place the management structures that took the rest of the world decades to build and get up and running. This could happen tomorrow, so we better start destroying wildlife habitats, pristine beaches, and hugh quantities of marine life today, right now, before it's too late."
I call BS on this $hit and I'm getting damned mad about it. What is the difference between American and Mexican gas that the Mexican gas is more than two dollars cheaper than American gas? NOTHING BUT BIG OIL GREED.
The extraordinary lies about the need for building refineries…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:42 AM Permalink
…being told by bush, and soon Mc'Splain, require lots of explaining to the public.
According to the BBC there have been 24, yes TWENTY-FOUR refinery closings in America between 1995 and 2001:
In 2001, Senator Ron Wyden authored a comprehensive report on the state of the US refining industry.
He noted that between 1995 and 2001 there were a total of 24 refinery closures in the United States.
These lost America around 830,000 barrels per day of gasoline. That is about the same amount of capacity lost to Katrina alone.
No new refineries
Wyden uncovered several memos and internal documents from major oil companies. These charted the way that capacity in the US refining industry was reduced to maintain higher profits.
Wyden received one such memo from oil company Texaco, written in 1996. The company felt it was quite clear that petrol supplies needed "reducing."
"The most critical factor facing the refining industry on the West Coast is the surplus refining capacity, and the surplus gasoline production capacity," said the memo.
"The same situation exists for the entire US refining industry. Supply significantly exceeds demand year-round. This results in very poor refinery margins, and very poor refinery financial results. Significant events need to occur to assist in reducing supplies and/or increasing the demand for gasoline."
It should be crystal clear to a blind fool by now that the oil companies, with the direct complicity of the government meant to look out for the interests of all citizens, have closed refinery after refinery in order to REDUCE the supply of gasoline and thereby keep raising prices despite a plentiful supply of oil and cheap gasoline.
[…]it is Opec that is building the new refineries for the world.
Indonesia is to build a new refinery in Tuban, Java. Kuwait is spending $9.8bn to build a huge new 600,000bpd refinery near Kuwait City plus upgrades to other refineries in Al Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah. Nigeria are investing over $2bn in refinery capacity and Qatar are undertaking billions of dollars of investment in gas-to-liquids (GTL) which produces liquid fuels from natural gas deposits.
Saudi Arabia are to spend $11.3bn upgrading some existing refineries, but also to build a massive new plant at Yanbu on the Red Sea. As well as this, the Saudi state oil company Saudi Aramco are investing in joint ventures overseas in China in Qingdao and Fujian.
Paul Horsnell from Barclays Capital again
"We're stuck in an imperfect world," observed Mr Horsnell.
"Refining shortages are going to play a key role in price formation.
"There are no firm expansions in refining capacity, not just in the US but in North America, South America and Europe. All of the expansions are in the Middle East and Asia."
There is a undoubtedly a problem with the world's refining capacity. Opec's new refineries will not come online until around five years from now. By then demand levels could be even higher than they are now. But what it may cost to fill your car by then, is anyone's guess.
It is way past time for people to become informed of this scam perpetrated by the richest countries in the world, force our government to merely return to our former refining capacity, not by building new refineries, but just by opening the perfectly good refineries we already possess.
We have become a nation of sheep, contented to graze on the pastures of our former glory and afraid to confront the Big Bad Wolves of Business from which the Shepherds of our country are meant to protect us instead of leading us to slaughter.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:14 PM Permalink
…says Newt Gingrich of the SCOTUS decision restoring every person's right to habeas corpus.
I guess that GOP hypocrites such as he forget that they alone, single-handedly and with no help or benefit of any rulings by SCOTUS have ALREADY lost a city by their inaction after hurricane Katrina.
I would think, given the criminality of this maladministration, that the GOP would hail the SCOTUS ruling that might very well allow them to challenge their own detentions when the full scale of their perfidy becomes known.
As seen on Henry Street. Note to self: If I had a car and that car had an alarm, I'd definitely refrain from parking said car on Henry. (Don't miss the "friendly" notes tucked under the car's windshields, just in case the owner was unsure of how a dog with that much backup got on top of his/her car.)
Advanced blueprints for a compact nuclear weapon were found by Swiss investigators in 2006 on computers seized from the nuclear smuggling ring run by Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, and there are concerns over how widely they may have been distributed.
Former UN weapons inspector David Albright, the author of a report on the blueprints, has suggested that Iran or North Korea might have been the intended recipient of the plans, since the compact design would fit their relatively small ballistic missiles — the Korean Nodong and the Iranian Shahab-III. However, no one involved is talking, so it is impossible to know where the plans actually ended up.
Most stinky: AQ Khan. Do you mean the same AQ Khan that Bush/Cheney let get away by destroying Valerie Plame and her cover group, Brewster Jennings? The AQ Khan with the Turkish connections that Sibel Edmonds would love to reveal, under oath, to Congress?
And a pretty stinky second: What about that laptop? Mighty convenient, finding a laptop like that, isn't it? With all sorts of damning information on it? I would bet money on every other secret service in the world saying that whatever is on that laptop is a load of baloney.
Additionally, the timing of the story is odd. The drumbeats are getting louder. Bush is done trying to twist the arms of the Europeans. Now it's onto war with Iran I guess.
ADDENDUM by The Sailor: Quick! Everybody panic!!1!
"Why did these smugglers associated with the notorious Pakistani nuclear engineer A. Q. Khan have these designs, unless they had sold or intended to sell them for Khan?" [David] Albright [a former inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency asked.
Evidence Suggests Iran, North Korea Might Possess Plans
Woooo, scary monsters!
Until you look at the facts: 1) They've known about the plans for 4 years. Completely known about them for over 2 years. (ibid)
2) David Albright, the ONLY person to be quoted on record in ALL of these articles hasn't been in the IAEA since 1997.
3) 1/2brite founded a NON-governmental think tank called Institute for Science and International Security, AKA ISIS, in 1993. (Sheesh, Isis!? Maybe his lack of imagination is why he never qualified for any doctorate!) (ibid)
His own bio on ISIS, (I'm still giggling), says "He directs the project work of ISIS, heads its fundraising efforts, and chairs its board of directors. "
Well by golly, since he hasn't actually had access to IAEA materials since '97, and works as a fund raiser for the organization he started in '93, I'm sure we can take his word for it. Gosh knows he doesn't have any financial stake in this!
4) The only other US sources trumpeting this 'panic, PANIC NOW!' viewpoint are unnamed government sources. e.g.
Ummm, so none of these sources actually knows whether Iran has these materials. Is it just me or is anyone else wondering why the MSM is quoting allegations by anonymous sources in the Bush government as fact?
Haven't these reporters been lied to enough by Bush et al about WMDs, aluminum tubes, mushroom clouds, etc, etc, etc ... that they won't show the slightest bit of skepticism about this latest bull$hit?
I mean, c'mon!? Where's the 'alleged', where's the 'but other sources say', where's the OUTING THE ACTUAL NAMES of people who've lied to you before!?
Don't they see any similarities between this PR push and the one they mounted against Iraq!?
Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC, “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”
Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed 37-year-old Jason Furman to head his economic policy team. Furman is one of Wal-Mart’s most prominent defenders, anointing the company a “progressive success story.” On the campaign trail, Obama blasted Clinton for sitting on the Wal-Mart board and pledged, “I won’t shop there.” For Furman, however, it’s Wal-Mart’s critics who are the real threat: the “efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits” are creating “collateral damage” that is “way too enormous and damaging to working people and the economy more broadly for me to sit by idly and sing ‘Kum-Ba-Ya’ in the interests of progressive harmony.” Obama’s love of markets and his desire for “change” are not inherently incompatible. “The market has gotten out of balance,” he says, and it most certainly has. Many trace this profound imbalance back to the ideas of Milton Friedman, who launched a counterrevolution against the New Deal from his perch at the University of Chicago economics department. And here there are more problems, because Obama–who taught law at the University of Chicago for a decade–is thoroughly embedded in the mind-set known as the Chicago School.
Looks like he's paying tribute to the same ole' corporate masters.
With the country already fiscally ill now comes recognition of bush's poison pill…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:15 AM Permalink
…and why it has taken so long for someone to actually introduce in the MSM the reality of the fiscal poison pill bush is leaving as his legacy for the American economy utterly confounds me. I have been saying for years now that we won't find out to worst of the damage bush has done to America until long after he leaves office.
It could not be plainer to me that this country is broke and that bush deliberately has done as much as he possibly can to make certain that America is broke, and not for altruistic motives, patriotism, or to protect America from the 'terrists' that are a phony construct of his own making to justify illegal wars, American imperialism, and American hegemony.
I believe he has long seen the writing on the wall insofar as the Democratic Party's coming rout of the GOP this November and is leaving this disaster for the Democratic president that will be elected and will face the nightmare bush will leave behind. It will take years to even start to cure the economic ills coming our way and in the coming disaster people will have a natural tendency to blame the party in charge, not the a$$hole who was directly responsible for the problem.
Paul Krugman wrote an excellent column on this subject today and is just about the only economist, apparently, that realizes this or at least has the guts to point this out.
From his article titled "Fiscal Poison Pill:
A poison pill, in corporate jargon, is a financial arrangement designed to protect current management by crippling the company if someone else takes over.
As I read the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the presidential candidates’ tax proposals, I realized that the tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration are, in effect, a fiscal poison pill aimed at future administrations.[…]
Exhibit A of the poison pill in action is the sad case of John McCain, part of whose lingering image as a maverick rests on his early opposition to the Bush tax cuts, which he declared excessive and too tilted toward the rich.
Since then the budget surpluses of the Clinton years have given way to persistent deficits, and income inequality has risen to new heights, vindicating his opposition.
But instead of pointing this out, Mr. McCain now promises to make those tax cuts permanent — and proposes further cuts that are, if anything, tilted even more toward the wealthy.[…]
Barack Obama’s tax plan is more responsible than Mr. McCain’s: relative to current policy, the Tax Policy Center estimates, the Obama plan would raise revenue by $700 billion over the next decade, compared with a $600 billion loss for Mr. McCain.[…]
The problem, I believe, is that even Democrats have bought into the underlying premise of the Bush years — that the best thing you can do for American families, or at least the only thing that can win their votes, is to give them a tax break.[…]
Anyway, back to my main theme: looking at the tax proposals of the two presidential candidates, it’s remarkable and disheartening to see how effective President Bush’s fiscal poison pill has been in restricting the terms of debate.
Progressives, in particular, have to hope that Mr. Obama will be more willing to challenge the Bush legacy in office than he has been in the campaign.
It will take a heroic effort on the part of President Obama to find a path to lead America out of the financial quicksand into which bush has sunk the country.
And, as I said above, people will tend to blame the Democratic Party as their suffering grows much, much worse before there is any chance for it to get better, a fact that will redound in favor of the Republicans, who are truly to blame for this mess, in the 2012 elections.
And Republicans like bush/cheney claim to be patriots. BS.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:37 AM Permalink
…whenever he gives a speech they are, each and every one of them, always identical and in full compliance with the Grand Old Prevaricators talking points. In other words the same tired lies every American hears every time they bother to watch one of his so-called town hall meetings.
There was one interesting new tidbit, which was quite a surprise after the JCS ordered military personnel to stay out of the political arena and remain neutral and non-partisan.
I'm paraphrasing, but pretty close.
When McLame introduced Lindsay Graham he specifically stated, "…I want to introduce one of my good friends, not as a United States Senator, but as an outstanding member of our Armed Forces, Lindsay Graham."
Rethugs have to adhere closely to the military as they have no strengths, competency, or independent integrity of their own upon which they may rely.
Way to go and show no respect for the JCS order to keep the military neutral, Lindsay and McPain! No honor among thieves here!
(And yes, I know McSame is no longer military, but Lindsay is still in the Reserves as a JAG isn't he?)
A fraud warning for dvd buyers about DVDMEDIASTAR.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 3:58 PM Permalink
…through a link at Amazon I ordered the old TV series It Takes A Thief from a Canadian company at www.dvdmediastar.com.
I was in high school when this series, starring Robert Wagner, was airing and it is one of my favorite shows.
The advertisement on their web site guaranteed 17 discs with "excellent picture and sound, free of commercials, inclusion of artwork from series' scenes and all the ususal goodies we have all come to expect.
The very instant I opened the cheap CD carrier box my son said, "Dad, these are fakes," then pointed out the distinctive blueish tinge (compared to the silver of factory discs), and when played the picture was lousy, the sound was lousy (many drop-outs in both cases), snippets of commercials at the beginning of new scenes, skipping material so bad it is impossible to follow the story. The final straw was when he loaded a disc in his Mac PowerBook and the icon display clearly identified the discs as "DVD-R" discs.
A straight up fraudulent rip-off which I immediately reported to Amazon and had my bank cancel the ATM payment of $87.95.
DVDMEDIASTAR SELLS ILLEGAL DVD PROGRAMMING that could have been recorded better by an average fourth grader with a decent dvd burner.
These people are frauds, thieves, and selling illegally burned copies of movies and I can prove it beyond all doubt, so do business with DVDMEDIASTAR at your own peril as they are naught but con artists and thieves.
posted by The Vidiot @ 3:13 PM Permalink
Well, honestly, I don't know if he REALLY gets it or or not, but he sure said it right during his interview with McClellan.
“My feeling about Cheney … is that he just couldn’t care less about Americans,” Letterman insisted. “And the same is true of George Bush. And all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they’re out of office … Is there any humanity in either of these guys?”
He's right. They DON'T care about Americans. Why should they? If there were fewer of us, it would only make their lives easier.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:44 PM Permalink
…to convict prisoners with no power to defend themselves against secret and unknown charges, with no counsel, and whose evidence against them has "disappeared."
It is well-known that bush wanted some terrorists convicted, sentenced to death, and actually executed before the November elections in order to convince Americans that only Republicans and John McSame the Insane Clown Killer could save us all from extinction.
Well, that evil intention is now right out the window as these prisoners, some of whom were incarcerated as children and grew up in American confinement suffering American torture, will now be able to appeal their confinement and render it impossible for bush to go on another killing spree in such a short time.
Ain't our constitution a beautiful thing?
And with a Democratic congress there is (hopefully) ZERO chance of passing more bogus laws to allow bush unrestrained authority to kill anyone he wants.
For those illegally held in jail we have a court decision to hail…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:56 PM Permalink
…because, unbelievably bush's SCOTUS has ruled that the constitution of the US still means something and that all those illegally detained persons being held by the government may challenge their confinement in US Courts.
THE RULE OF LAW WON. There is hope for America after all!
Foreign terrorism suspects held at the Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba have constitutional rights to challenge their detention there in United States courts, the Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, on Thursday in a historic decision on the balance between personal liberties and national security.
“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court.[…]
In a harsh rebuke of the Bush administration, the justices rejected the administration’s argument that the individual protections provided by the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 were more than adequate..
“The costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody,” Justice Kennedy wrote, assuming the pivotal role that some court-watchers had foreseen.
The issues that were weighed in Thursday’s ruling went to the very heart of the separation-of-powers foundation of the United States Constitution. “To hold that the political branches may switch the Constitution on or off at will would lead to a regime in which they, not this court, say ‘what the law is,’ ” Justice Kennedy wrote, citing language in the 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison, in which the Supreme Court articulated its power to review acts of Congress.[…]
The ruling on Thursday focused in large part on the centuries old writ of habeas corpus (“you have the body,” in Latin), a means by which prisoners can challenge their incarceration. Noting that the Constitution provides for suspension of the writ only in times of rebellion or invasion, Justice Kennedy called it “an indispensable mechanism for monitoring the separation of powers.”[…]
The head of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents dozens of prisoners at Guantánamo, hailed the ruling. “The Supreme Court has finally brought an end to one of our nation’s most egregious injustices,” Vincent Warren, the organization’s executive director, told The Associated Press.[…]
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, applauded the ruling. “Today, the Supreme Court affirmed what almost everyone but the administration and their defenders in Congress always knew,” he said. “The Constitution and the rule of law bind all of us even in extraordinary times of war. No one is above the Constitution.”
In the words of a well-known actor, "Yippee kiyay, motherf*cker!"
This puts the final nail into the coffin of gw bush's illegal detention of so-called "enemy combatants,", restores habeas corpus, and means that as these people are heard in our courts all the other illegal acts of bush, such as endless torture, will be dragged out into the light of day so all Americans and the world will see bush for exactly what he is: a cruel, petty despot that wanted more power than any king or emperor in history, at least since 1200 A.D. and the signing of the Magna Carta, upon which in many instances our own constitution is based.
This is the BIG ONE for the Rule of Law and all Americans owe a debt to the US Supreme Court.
MV: Which is further proof that they don't give a damn about we, the people. A corporation's sole motivation is profit. They don't serve the people, they serve profit. Maximize profit at the expense of all else. They have no morals. It's all about the profit. It's the very definition of a corporation.
Me: Yes dear.
MV: Sooooo, if the US is a corporation, then all nation states should be corporations, then we should make them compete with each other! I mean, we should be able to change our citizenship as easy as we change cell phone service. And countries should be made to compete for citizens by offering benefits like health care, free education, better roads, better jobs, etc. Isn't that perfect?!
Sometimes, it's a weird little world over here at Casa Vidiot. (I'm not saying he doesn't have a point though.)
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:46 AM Permalink
A few days ago, McCain seemingly quipped that he's vetting his VP's using Google saying "What you can find out now on the Internet -- it's remarkable." and everyone chuckled and said, Oh, he's just making a joke. Ha ha ha.
I'm not saying that war or conflict with Iran is imminent. In fact, I don't think America, even under Bush, will strike Iran first -- but I do think that there is an increasing chance of a trigger event driving a fast escalation of higher and higher consequence military options. This trigger could be a mistaken signal, a ship collision, an event engineered by the Israelis, or by the IRGC Al Quds force, or by some other splinter terrorist operation wanting to exploit regional tensions and the current fragility of affairs.
The most I can do is post the link above and walk away from my steaming hot computer. (Really, the keys are most unpleasant to touch.)
Divide and Conquer ... or ... That was Yesterday, And Yesterday's Gone
posted by The Sailor @ 11:29 PM Permalink I remember the day that John Kennedy was assassinated. I was just in grade school, but I remember that day the teacher came in and told us the news that The President had been shot.
I remember the day that Martin Luther King was assassinated.
I remember the day that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. I remember being woken up and told the news and not believing it. It had to be a nightmare.
I had worked for his campaign, sure it was only stapling posters and stuffing envelopes, but I met him, got his autograph, heard him speak from 30 feet away, and I was inspired by him ... and when I heard of his death I just thought 'this can't be true!'
But it was true. 3 of America's best of the best had been assassinated within 5 years.
And that day was the day that I wondered if my love for the American ideals I'd been brought up to believe in were just bullet holes and blood stains.
I've come by my cynicism honestly. I've lived thru Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush! (WTF!?, A Bush TWICE!)
My ideals have suffered under all of them. Maybe I'm just naive. Maybe I'm a patriot. Maybe I just thought we can be what WE THE PEOPLE said we can be.
But that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone. Today I feel like we have a chance, just a chance, of reclaiming the ideals on which our country was founded.
I read the polls and it seems currently to be a statistical dead heat between Obama and McCain. How is this possible?
71% of the country disapprove of Bush's performance. And McCain not only endorses Bush's policies, he wants to expand them: Roe V. Wade overturned; More tax cuts for rich Americans; indefinite occupation of Iraq; attacking Iran; less health insurance for most Americans; less benefits for our troops; extending illegal spying on Americans, etc, etc, etc.
So, how is it possible that overwhelmingly most of our country disagrees with McCain yet the polling has them in a statistical heat!?
As FallenMonk noted; "The areas of the country where people are spending over 10% of their income today on gasoline are smack dab in the middle of the most reliable Republican-voting states. You do have to wonder why they can't see it, but regardless we obviously have our job to do."
I will be the first one to admit that I don't know why folks have consistently voted against their interests.
But I have a supposition: It's always been about the politics of divide. It is based in ignorance, amplifies a non-existent 'problem', bullhorns a lie long enough that folks who are actually just trying to make a living hear nothing but that echo echo echo chamber.
Why else would politicians be able to pit the majority of Americans against the majority of Americans? Examples to follow: White men, women stole your jobs thru affirmative action! White men, the black folks stole your jobs thru affirmative action! White men, immigrants stole your jobs thru illegal immigration!
If you look at the history of the politics of divide it also includes Italians, Irish, Chinese, Greeks and ... name any other people who immigrated here. And we all immigrated here ... except for Native Americans, and the worst politics of divide were played against folks who were ALREADY HERE.
The one singular point that crops up, and is obvious thru all these false claims, is that rich people wanted to keep poor people divided so the rich could prosper even more ... at the expense of the poor.
And they have succeeded. Oh sure, there's always been folks in those communities, (AKA America), that have prospered against the norm. But almost always, after climbing the ladder, they kicked it out from under the ones who could have climbed up with them.
We need to talk to our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, our neighborhood friends, the folks who live down the lane, and the folks who work next to us.
Maybe we don't even need to talk, maybe we just need to ask questions.
And if you ask the question 'will we be better off?'
And if they think about it, the answer should be clear.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:20 PM Permalink
…from trying to lock us into Iraq forever with bogus agreements, his "Status of Forces Agreement," but as he is the worst violator in the world regarding refuting treaties, ignoring others, violating others freely, WHY THE HELL are we going to allow any treaty he makes with anyone, specifically Iraq, to stand and be honored?
When he leaves office let's just cancel every egregiously illegal treaty he has made the very first day Obama takes office. I'm sure the Iraqis won't mind.
…He read a disjointed set of remarks at a badly staged rally at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, La. Here’s part of an e-mail message I received as McCain spoke, from a Republican who admires him: “They could have done so well tonight, shown a tone of confidence. Instead it looks like a bad Congressional race: dumb green puke background, small crowd ... Makes me want to cry.”
Soon after Republicans finished shedding tears of frustration, Democrats were weeping tears of joy.…
I'm glad Kristol's not a bitter, self-absorbed, neocon that sees his party crashing from its own shameful acts or anything.
"…the G.O.P.’s credibility as America’s defender has leaked away into the sands of Iraq."
Of course, our criminal leadership engaging the country in an illegal war of aggression against Iraq to steal their oil, illegally torturing people held illegally for more than half a decade in some cases, conducting illegal military kangaroo courts where neither defendants nor attorneys may see the evidence being used by the government to soon conduct illegal executions (that used to be called murder, didn't it?), the ruination of our economy pursuing illegal wars, the absolute destruction of all the fine American ideals of democracy that stood this nation well so very long, and the consequent accumulative effect of all these causing the rest of the world to believe that America is a force of evil and no longer a force of good in the world might have something to do with it as well, but I just like the Krugman quote and wanted it to receive as much attention as possible.
Another public service provided by the patriots of VidioSpeak.
NOTE: I changed this slightly as I realized I had repeated the Mark Twain quote, so I placed credit for it differently and eliminated the redundant, unnecessary, duplicative, repetitive, and unneeded sentence. Bill
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:55 AM PermalinkSeveral blocks of Brooklyn's Restaurant row (a.k.a. Smith Street) lost power last night due to a manhole fire and they're still repairing it today. So, during this lovely heatwave in NYC and with the power out down the street from casa Vidiot, they're having to traffic at the end of my block. At present, there are cars backed up and honking in front of my window, relentlessly honking, like honking is going to help anything.
Car horns, exhaust fumes and heat. I guess it's finally summer in Brooklyn.
In our news media, in our press, those who wield power were, in the lead-up to Iraq, given the opportunity to present their views as a coherent whole, to connect the dots, as they saw the dots and the connections... no matter how much these views may have flown in the face of precedent, established practice — or, indeed, the facts (as we are reminded, yet again, by the just-released Senate report on the administration's use of pre-war intelligence). The powerful are given this opportunity still, in ways big and small, despite what you may hear about the "post-Katrina" press.
But when a tough question is asked and not answered, when reputable people come before the public and say, "wait a minute, something's not right here," the press has treated them like voices crying in the wilderness. These views, though they might be given air time, become lone dots — dots that journalists don't dare connect, even if the connections are obvious, even if people on the Internet and in the independent press are making these very same connections. The mainstream press doesn't connect these dots because someone might then accuse them of editorializing, or of being the, quote, "liberal media."
"I just don't think we can let these people back into polite society," continued Clarke, "and give them seats on university boards and corporate boards and just pretend that nothing ever happened, when there are 4000 American dead and 25,000 Americans grievously wounded. ... Someone should have to pay in some way for the decisions that they made to mislead the American people."
Trouble is, someone IS paying for this war -- the soldiers, the families of the soldiers, the taxpayers, the Iraqis -- there are plenty of people paying for this war, just not the ones who SHOULD be paying for it.
A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday. [...] “What are the threats that require U.S. forces to be there?” asked Nadeem Al-Jaberi, a co-founder of the al-Fadhila Shi’ite political party, speaking through a translator. [...] A Sunni Iraqi lawmaker, Khalaf Al-Ulayyan, founder of the National Dialogue Council, said bilateral talks on a long-term security deal should be shelved until American troops leave — and until there is a new government in Washington. [...] A senior U.S. official said in Baghdad earlier this week that the United States still hopes to reach a new security agreement with Iraq by July,
Now the bad news:
Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep Iraq Under US Control Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors [...] The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.
But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.
The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.
US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday.
BTW, the "$20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq" is part of the exact same money that
In a related case, a federal judge in New York ruled in September that the families of people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks could not claim any part of about $1.7 billion in frozen Iraqi assets in the United States.
The judge noted that President Bush had signed an executive order in March, on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, that confiscated Iraqi assets and converted them into assets of the United States government. "
1.(sometimes capital letters 'V' and 'S' with no space) a style of writing or saying something using emotion and/or logic and snark, esp. in order to elucidate the obvious while pretending to be objective.
2. anything written by The Vidiot, The Sailor, Mr. Vidiot and anyone else they allow to post on the blog “vidiotspeak”
[Origin: loosely based on new + speak, coined by George Orwell in his novel, 1984 (1949)]
And for godsakes, stay away from FOX, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.
It's ALL CRAP!!!
Watch the BBC news or ITN news instead.
"POSSE COMITATUS ACT" (18 USC 1385)
A Reconstruction Era criminal law proscribing use of Army (later, Air Force) to "execute the laws" except where expressly authorized by Constitution or Congress. Limit on use of military for civilian law enforcement also applies to Navy by regulation. Dec '81 additional laws were enacted (codified 10 USC 371-78) clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies--including the Coast Guard--especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance, etc.) while generally prohibiting direct participation of DoD personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests). For example, Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) serve aboard Navy vessels and perform the actual boardings of interdicted suspect drug smuggling vessels and, if needed, arrest their crews). Positive results have been realized especially from Navy ship/aircraft involvement.